Small business owners looking to scale up and grow in 2017 will soon have the opportunity to do just that. ScaleUp North Florida will accept applications for its 2017 program year from now until October 31, 2016. This will be the third year of the program, which is designed to create local economic impact by helping small business owners create jobs, increase sales and access capital for business development.
ScaleUp North Florida is one 15 programs in the country under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ScaleUp America umbrella, and it is based at the University of North Florida. To qualify for the year-long program, companies must have been in business for at least two years; generate between $150,000 and $500,000 in annual sales; be located in Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Baker, Clay or Putnam counties and have the desire to grow. Up to 50 small business owners will be selected to participate in the 2017 program year. There is no cost to participate.
Many of the 40 participants in the 2016 program year have already seen the results of their commitment, according to ScaleUp North Florida Program Director Linda Teza Kulka. “In this second year of ScaleUp North Florida, we continued to help dynamic entrepreneurs who were ready to dig deep and achieve goals,” she said. “Although there is no cost to participate in the program, a substantial time investment is required. It takes real work, and those who make the investment reap the reward of a stronger business.” In addition to the education and training opportunities, each participant is paired with a small business consultant from the Florida Small Business Development Center at UNF for ongoing guidance and support.
Duval County 2016 ScaleUp participant B. ‘Duke’ Lewis, Vice President of Lewis Diving & Salvage, recommends the ScaleUp experience to other entrepreneurs who want to grow their business. “Scale Up provided support for not only my business but for my personal development and growth as a CEO, he said.” “Through the courses, analysis and consulting offered I was better able to understand best practices to manage and delegate. This led to increased productivity and confidence for myself and my staff. The inclusion of so many different businesses in the program showed me that many of our problems were universal. Scale Up provided me with the opportunity to reaffirm my decisions and presented me with access to resources, including exceptional instructors in their fields. It is not to be missed for the small business, he added.”
The 2016 ScaleUp North Florida application is now available online at www.scaleupnorthflorida.com. ScaleUp participants will benefit from 24 hours of entrepreneurial training on topics geared toward small business growth. They will receive an in-depth business health assessment, and then an action plan will be developed to help them achieve their growth goals. In addition, a Meet the Lender event will showcase the available types of small business lending, and access to CEO Xchange groups for peer-to-peer support is available after the classes have ended. The 2017 selection process will take place in October and November 2016, and the new program year will begin in January 2017.
ScaleUp North Florida is funded through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program is based at the University of North Florida and works in partnership with the Florida Small Business Development Center at UNF.